MONACO: Nine Turkish track and field athletes have been banned after testing positive for anabolic steroids, the latest doping scandal there during Istanbul’s campaign to win 2020 Olympics hosting rights.
The IAAF said Wednesday all had received two-year bans and that six are women, including two teenagers.
Six cases involved field athletes testing positive for stanozolol at Turkey’s national university championships held in May at Bursa. Stanozolol is the steroid used by Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Among those six, three athletes also tested positive for oral turinabol, the steroid used in state-sponsored East German doping programs in the 1970s and 1980s.
The IAAF confirmed the disciplinary cases days after its president, Lamine Diack, suggested Turkish athletics officials “need to clean their house.”
“They are bidding for the 2020 Olympics but every few days we have three or four athletes caught for doping,” Diack said in London. He is a member of the International Olympic Committee which on Sept. 7 will choose Istanbul, Madrid or Tokyo as 2020 host.
In June, eight Turkish athletes, including 2004 Olympic hammer silver medalist Esref Apak, were caught doping, and dozens more were reported to have tested positive before the Mediterranean Games hosted by Turkey.
In May, the IAAF asked the Turkish federation to prosecute cases against Olympic 1,500-meter champion Asli Cakir Alptekin and two-time European 100-meter hurdles champion Nevin Yanit over alleged doping violations.
Responding to Diack, the Turkish National Olympic Committee said the series of cases “is not evidence of more cheats.”
“It is evidence that we are stepping up to fight this problem more aggressively and coming into line with top-tier sports nations,” the Turkish Olympic body said in a statement.
In the latest verdicts, the IAAF said 17-year-old discus thrower Burcu Akmazoglu tested positive for both banned steroids in Bursa. She is suspended from competing through June 13, 2015.
A second teenager, 18-year-old hammer thrower Elif Akbas, also tested positive for stanozolol at the student event.
An IAAF list of sanctioned athletes shows that stanozolol and oral turinabol were both found in samples taken at Bursa from Kubra Danis, a 22-year-old shot putter, and Gokce Celenk, a 25-year-old discus thrower. Javelin throwers Sarik Bilgin, who is 25, and 21-year-old Gulsum Ozdemir Gunes also tested positive for stanozolol.
The IAAF said the other cases involve two field athletes and one runner.
Ali Ekber Kayas, a 26-year-old 400-meter runner who competed at the 2012 world indoor championships in Istanbul, gave a sample with oxandrolone at a national competition in May 2012. He is suspended through July 2, 2014.
Shot putter Nilgun Ozturk tested positive for methandienone at the same competition, and received the same ban as Kayas.
The IAAF said 21-year-old javelin thrower Berkay Tolun tested positive for stanozolol during training in May. His ban expires on June 6, 2015.
The Turkish Olympic body acknowledged that more doping cases could follow.
“In the short term, the redoubling of (the Turkish anti-doping agency) testing and sanctioning procedures will mean more positive tests,” it said. “We want clean young Turkish athletes winning medals on home soil in 2020.”